Vancouver city councillor broke conflict rules, should resign: report

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Wiebe’s financial disclosures, which are public, list him as owner-operator of Mount Pleasant’s 8 1/2 Restaurant and an investor at Gastown’s Portside Pub. The city approved 8 1/2 in June for one of the first temporary patio expansions, and Portside received approval four weeks later. Permitting is handled by city staff, and not voted on by council.

The investigation was prompted by a June complaint from retired lawyer Michael Redmond, after he read aStraightstory about Wiebe’s votes for the patio program.

Side Hustle restaurant, formerly known as 8 1/2 restaurant, at 151 East 8th Ave. in Vancouver on Sept. 21, 2020. A conflict-of-interest investigation into motions and votes by Vancouver city councillor Michael Wiebe, owner of the sandwich shop, concerning the city's temporary patio program has recommended the first-term councillor resign and be disqualified from holding office. For Dan Fumano story. Credit: Mike Bell/PNG [PNG Merlin Archive]
Side Hustle restaurant, formerly known as 8 1/2 restaurant, at 151 East 8th Ave. in Vancouver on Sept. 21, 2020. Photo by Mike Bell /PNG

Vancouver lawyer Raymond Young was asked to investigate and wrote the report, which Postmedia has reviewed. In it, Young recommended “it would be appropriate for Wiebe to resign his seat on council.”

Redmond said Monday that recent debates at the federal level in both Canada and the United States have underlined the importance of conflict of interest rules.

“If you ignore what people think of as small breaches of conflict of interest, it pretty soon leads to bigger breaches,” Redmond said. “Unless people actually stick by the rules and pay attention to them, public trust in democracy — which is already pretty low — is going to be undermined even further.”

Redmond said he doesn’t know Wiebe and has nothing against him personally, but “considering the clear findings” in the report, he believes Wiebe should resign.

The Non-Partisan Association called on Wiebe to “do the right thing and resign.”

If Wiebe does not resign, the Vancouver Charter provides other options for his removal. A group of 10 Vancouver voters can apply for a court order to have him removed or the city can apply to the courts, with the approval of two thirds of council.


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